April 13, 2009

Wanting to improve the overall quality and performance of our set-up, plus adding a couple of new sound sources. This is the list of equipment that I’m looking to buy.

The first item is the audio interface used for capturing any live audio and presenting this back out for monitoring. Currently I use the MOTU 828MK3, this is fine however it’s really a mid-level product that also offers onboard effects, it works well for live use but I only ever really use one of it’s many input channels for Sarah’s vocal. I’d like to get a good quality A/D convertor so I have been looking at the Apogee range of interfaces. The only real need for this type of device is to capture Sarah’s audio from the mic we use. Although Apogee produce a wide range of products the DUET looks like it will do the job. It also integrates with Logic really well. I would consider their Ensemble product but I think it’s probably overkill for our needs, my issue with the DUET is that it’s a desktop product and not a rackmount but the difference in cost doesn’t seem worth it.

The next thing I’d like to get is a better Mic Pre Amp, Currently I use the Focusrite ASA1 but the Liquid Channel, also from Focusrite looks great. Essentially this product will allow me to call up a number of simulated Mic Pre Amps and compressors, these are essential for getting a variety of different sounds for Sarah’s vocal. We also need a Mic, our current Mic an AKG SolidTube as been on loan from a friend for a few years so I think it’s time we bought our own. By far the most talked about industry standard is the Neumann U87. Not cheap but hopefully worth every penny. Choosing a Mic is something of a personal preference so I I’d like to audition at least a couple before making this decision. Neumann also make a model called the TLM103 which is based upon the capsule inside the U87, it’s pretty much half the cost so I’d like to hear these two for a comparison.

I really found the Euphonix MC Control useful for giving me tactile control over the mixing stage, I’d like to expand this with the MC Mix which will function as an add on channel set for the MC Control. What I love about these products is their connectivity with Logic, you can also use them to control parameters within the AU synths I use, the interface within the MC Control re-configures to match whatever window is in focus and also if you switch apps. Great products.

Next is the real work horse of the set-up, currently I have a Mac G5 Quad which has been great however it’s now a couple of generations old. I’d like to upgrade to the MacPro 8 Core machine. I nearly ordered one of these a while ago but as the album wasn’t quite finished I didn’t want to spend a couple of days swapping these around, plus the hassle of updating all the various bits of software. The beauty of working within the Logic environment on a Mac is that you can pretty much guarantee that the performance of the system will increase two fold every few years.

There are a couple of planned upgrades to a few of the soft synths I use, Minimonster and impOSCar, I have also looked at Reaktor 5 & Absynth. Most of my synths apart from the ones in Logic are emulations of older machines so I’m intrigued by these as they seem to offer a new take on making noises.

The MacBook pro’s I use for music is in a bit of a sorry state, the screen has developed a fault which causes half of the screen to display a psychedelic pattern, looks cool but is totally unusable. There was hope that this would be covered under warranty as there are recognised issues with video cards but that’s not the case with my machine. So it looks like I need to order a new MacBook too.